Sunday, January 08, 2006

Ang Mo's family crest

The Knights of the Maru-ni-tachibana. My Japanese family crest. Translated, it means,
With in a circle, the Standing flower, ".
Check it out!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Temple Boy Chapter 4

It's early morning and eerily calm. The clouds have parted and the orange rays have burst through. The rising sun catches the ice particles in the air creating faint lines that extend from the cloud to the snow covered plains.

Manabu awakes. His pale skin and blue lips show signs of the night he has endured. He has difficulties opening his eyes in the bright morning light. Eventually Manabu squints and looks around with painul dry eyes. Still in a dreamy state, he cannot recognise the transformed scenery. The soft branches of the cypress pines that sheltered him from the blistering winds are drooping low from the burden of the dense snow that now rests on it.

Still wedged into the corner of the small shrine Manabu begins to recollect the events of the previous night. His memory is disjointed but the overall pain and the patch of dried blood on his pants slowly draws him back to reality. Manabu hears signs of life with the distinct chirping of a "hiyodori" resonating in the distant forest. Another replies. Then another, until eventually the forest becomes a choir of echoing music.

Unable to move, Manabu continues to sit under the shelter of the humble shrine to enjoy the warmth of the rays and natures music until a faint ringing is heard from under his jacket. Manabu forms a slight smile.


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Apostrophe Gang

The Vigilante motley crew of apostrophe. "Check it Out".
I love photoshop.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Even if we could,
would we?
And should we if we could?

Hmmm, food for thought.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Lost In Translation.

A beautifully tragic song, "Sukiyaki" by Sakamoto Kyu, is an timeless classic. To the japanese this song is a folk favorite. The lyrics encapsulates the Japanese pride and the Japanese man.
Unfortunately, this song was lost in traslation to the western audience. To begin with it has nothing to do with Sukiyaki, a Japanese dish. In Japanese, the title is Ue wo muite arukou, meaning walk with your head held high.
I took the liberty of translating the lyrics so people who read this can appreciate Sakamoto Kyu's simple message.
Ue Wo Muite Arukou.
Walking with my head held high,
So the tears don’t run.
Memories of that day in Spring.
It’s a lonely night.

Walking with my head held high,
Counting the stars
Memories of that day in Summer.
It’s a lonely night.

Happiness is above the clouds,
Happiness is above the sky.

Walking with my head held high,
So the tears don’t run.
As I cry, I walk on.
It’s a lonely night.

Memories of that day in Autumn,
It’s a lonely night.

Sadness in the shadows of the stars,
Sadness in the shadows of the moon.

Walking with my head held high,
So the tears don’t run.
As I cry, I walk on.
It’s a lonely night

It’s a lonely night.
Beautiful song, but very sad also. This song made it to #1 on the US Pop charts i 1963. But the irony is that no one new what he was singing about.
In 1985, he was among the 520 people killed in the crash of JAL Flight 123 , the most deadly single-plane accident in aviation history. But the words he voiced in his song "Ue wo muite arukou" will live on forever.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Temple Boy, Chapter 3

Light seeps through the cracks of the black timber boards of the old shack, providing Manabu with just enough light to load his bicycle basket with the local news papers. The bicycle is an old one gear bicycle. The rust on the chain and spokes shows signs of age but functionable. The light slowly dims as the sun hides behing dark cloud blocking the warm rays. Manabu shivers;
Samu. (cold)
Manabu rides out of the shack through deep snow, and waves to Tousan still on the roof;
He rides out on to the icy roads and down the mountain pass.
Looking up to the cloud, Tousan mumbles;
Kiwo tsukeroyo. (be careful)
Manabu rides competantly down the windy road, maneauvering around the black ice and the heaps of sleat. The ear muffs dangling off his snow hat flap violently.
Slowly clouds rumbles across the sky, envolping the open white plains into darkness.
Manabu rides in to the village where he is greeted by the locals. The township of Iizuna Kogen has a strong western influence with predominantly Swiss architecture, a world very different from his mountain peak temple where the traditions and ways of life resemble a family of 1900 Japan. Ski and snow board enthusiasts frequent Iizuna for the steep downhills and challenging moguels.
Manabu ignores the city folk and promptly carries on with his rounds, delivering the news papers to restaurants, eateries and cafes for the tourists to read.
Attempting to speak over the howling winds a restauranteaur yells to Manabu;
You better hurry on home Manabu, the storms are setting in.
Manabu replies
Ice particles form on his nose tips, cheaks and eyebrows as Manabu rides home against blistering winds. Snow fall gets heavier hindering Manabu's sight of the road. Riding faster than usual, exhaustion starts to kick in and lactic acid builds up dulling his thighs and calves. Without warning the tires lose tracksion of the road Manabu slips on the black ice skiding off the road. Struggling to get up from the exhaution, he lays unmoved on the road side. He breathes heavily from the gruelling ride. Eventually he stand and move to a near by shelter, a small shrine on the side of a road. The shrine is a small shack with a stone statue of a monk like figure and next to it are several unlit candles. Manabu drags his battered bicycle and squats next to the statue to rest out of the freezing winds.
Manabu reaches in to his saddle bag, pulling out a match box. From inside the match box sounds the ringing of a cricket.
Yea, i think we have to rest here for awhile.
Manabu closes the match box and places it carefully in to his jacket to keep it warm. The blizzard continues. Manabu looks around hopelessly.
Samu (cold).

Monday, October 24, 2005

Temple Boy, chapter 2

Sunlight bursts into the prayer hall as Touson opens the sliding shoji doors. The light fills the room, exposing the dust particles dancing in the rays. He sees Manabu outside swinging the axe with ease, splitting logs to feed the fires for the irori and the furo (bath). Tousan watches on for a brief while with sadness in his eyes, then carries on with his daily chores. The sounds of splitting wood continues.
Manabu in mid swing is interupted by the sounds of a cricket in the near by bushes.

Manabu presses his finger to his mouth,
and whispers,
be quiet.
He carries on with his chores.

Tousan squints from the glare as he shovels the snow off the roof of the temple. A slight breeze has picked up blowing the loose snow off the canopies of the cypress pine in to piles around the base of the trunks. Tousan rests awhile. Clothes flapping in the breeze, he looks up as if thanking god for this day.

The sun hides behind a passing cloud, providing Manabu with some relief from the afternoon heat. He wipes the perspiration from across his forehead and breathes a sigh of relief. He hears the cricket singing out to him.
Sigh. What? i'm busy.

Manabu rests his axe by the chopping block, and walks over to the sourse of the ringing. Squatting under the shade of a tree, he mumbles words. Unrecognisable words.

Tousan yells out from the roof;
Oi, who you talking to? haven't you got your rounds to do?

Manabu replies unethusiastically;

Tousan shakes his head and carries on.